Pittard, a potential target of clubs in his native Victoria when falling into free agency at season’s end, has been dropped for Port’s match against Brisbane tomorrow.
But Hinkley says Pittard’s long-term future is separate from a form slump which led to his omission for the twilight Adelaide Oval fixture.
“I know one thing, Jasper wants to play for Port Adelaide,” Hinkley told reporters today.
Pittard is one of three players axed in response to Port’s meek 70-point loss to Essendon last weekend.
“No-one takes it great – you lose your spot in the side and you’re a proud person,” Hinkley said.
“Jasper is that. Like any player, he’s disappointed but he’ll respond and he will get back.
“It’s just one of those times and a need for Jasper probably just to relieve some pressure.
“He has been trying absolutely everything he can to get the form that he wants and it’s just not quite working for him.
“So I think this weekend will be a relief for him. And then get back into form, we know he’ll respond pretty quick.”
Hinkley also dropped Brendan Ah Chee and Jimmy Toumpas, recalling Aaron Young, Dan Houston and Jake Neade to host an unchanged Brisbane side.
The sixth-placed Port enter the encounter hot favourites against the last-placed Lions.
But Hinkley said his club’s heavy loss to Essendon last week, coupled with Brisbane’s upset win over Fremantle, proved a point.
“They (Brisbane) are the same as every side in the competition, if you let them play at their best, they can hurt you,” Hinkley said.
“They have got an elite midfield, a young front-half and young back-half with some real confidence coming out of last week’s game – that is always a danger for any side.
“We have come out of last week’s game a little bit battered and bruised. We need to respond.”
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